Railways is a 9-9-9 solitaire nano-game (9 cards, 9 cubes, 9 dice) spanning 120 years in which you are trying to establish your economic dominion over a railway network. The campaign for this game, alongside two other 9-9-9 nano games (Empire and City Planner) will launch on Kickstarter on November 2.
There are 8 cards featuring, on one side, railways, and on the other side, actions. Four of these cards are randomly chosen and laid on a 4x4 rectangle: this will be the railway network you will aim to earn profit from during the game. These cards feature buildings of four kinds connected by railways. On each card, one of the buildings is occupied by Passengers. The other four cards are used as Action cards throughout the game. The Action cards are divided into four sections, each showing a different set of icons you may use. Three go to your starting hand, the fourth one is reserved as a deck for future draws (you may shuffle it to randomize the deck if you wish). The ninth card is used as a tracker card: you track the Pollution level, your Profit score and your Capital. You also use one die to track the round number, and one die to track your number of railway workers.
The game lasts for 12 rounds, each representing a decade. Each round, you may perform one or two actions. To perform an action, you must select action cards with icons fulfilling the requirement of that action. Some actions require several sets of icons to be performed. You can then use a different card to provide an additional set of icons or use another set of icons on the same card. If you do so, however, your Pollution level increases by one. All cards you use icons from are then discarded.
Among the available actions, you can purchase a railway between two buildings if you have railways icons, an available worker to spend, and an icon matching one of the two buildings. You can add a new building on the network (only three in total during the game). If you own a railway from a building with a Passenger in it, you can move that Passenger by using a Ticket icon and an icon matching the destination building of your choice. This is a key action, as it is how you generate profit. You earn as much Profit as buildings encountered (including the destination) and as much Capital as the length of the railway. Furthermore, the type of the destination building earns you a special bonus; one may for instance turn Capital into Profit. Finally, you can also hire a Worker, decrease Pollution, earn Capital, add a Passenger in a building, and upgrade a railway so that it can generate more profit.
At the end of the game, your score is given by your Profit level (and you earn 3 additional Profit per railway you own), minus your Pollution level. However, instead of trying to beat your own score, you may also try to fulfill one of the four objectives: move all Passengers, have a Passenger go to each building type, or purchase and upgrade all railways of the network. You may also mix these objectives to increase the difficulty.